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Dion: A Rock Legend Opens Up View Comments
By Dion DiMucci and Mike Aquilina

In 1958, we went from glory to glory, headlining with the likes of Eddie Cochran (“Summertime
Blues”), Gene Vincent (“Be-Bop-A-Lula”) and Bobby Darin (“Splish Splash”). Bobby was another Italian boy from the Bronx, a few years my senior and more hip to the ways of the business world.

He became a close friend and a mentor, giving me good advice about how to read my contracts and file my taxes. Bobby grew up the same way I did and had many of the same worries. He spoke to my frugal nature, my inner Mom.

A lot of early rockers got jerked around and bled dry by their agents, their record companies and the crowd of scammers that follow the money wherever it goes. If I managed to survive rock stardom with a couple nickels to rub together, no small credit goes to Bobby Darin, who spoke my language and gave me free accounting lessons on the tour bus.

In the fall we got invited to join another superstar, Buddy Holly, on what was billed as “The Biggest Show of Stars.” Buddy had a streak of hits that could make DiMaggio jealous: “That’ll Be the Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “Everyday,” “Oh Boy,” “Maybe Baby” and “It’s So Easy (to Fall in Love).”

He’d only been recording for a year, but he had already established a rock-and-roll sound that everyone was mimicking. I got to know Buddy when he moved to New York in August. He’d just married a New Yorker, Maria Elena Santiago, and he was happy in his new apartment. (He’d proposed to Maria Elena on their first date.)

We spent three weeks together on “The Biggest Show of Stars,” and we established a strong relationship––friendship and mutual musical admiration. When Buddy invited me to join him on his upcoming all-star “Winter Dance Party” tour, I was honored and I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

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Dion DiMucci is a multi-platinum recording artist, Grammy Award nominee and inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Mike Aquilina is the author of many books, including Love in the Little Things and Angels of God (both from Servant Books). Dion and Mike co-wrote, Dion, The Wanderer Talks Truth.

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Anthony Grassi: Anthony’s father died when his son was only 10 years old, but the young lad inherited his father’s devotion to Our Lady of Loreto. As a schoolboy he frequented the local church of the Oratorian Fathers, joining the religious order when he was 17.
<p>Already a fine student, he soon gained a reputation in his religious community as a "walking dictionary" who quickly grasped Scripture and theology. For some time he was tormented by scruples, but they reportedly left him at the very hour he celebrated his first Mass. From that day, serenity penetrated his very being.
</p><p>In 1621, at age 29, Anthony was struck by lightning while praying in the church of the Holy House at Loreto. He was carried paralyzed from the church, expecting to die. When he recovered in a few days he realized that he had been cured of acute indigestion. His scorched clothes were donated to the Loreto church as an offering of thanks for his new gift of life.
</p><p>More important, Anthony now felt that his life belonged entirely to God. Each year thereafter he made a pilgrimage to Loreto to express his thanks.
</p><p>He also began hearing confessions, and came to be regarded as an outstanding confessor. Simple and direct, he listened carefully to penitents, said a few words and gave a penance and absolution, frequently drawing on his gift of reading consciences.
</p><p>In 1635 he was elected superior of the Fermo Oratory. He was so well regarded that he was reelected every three years until his death. He was a quiet person and a gentle superior who did not know how to be severe. At the same time he kept the Oratorian constitutions literally, encouraging the community to do likewise.
</p><p>He refused social or civic commitments and instead would go out day or night to visit the sick or dying or anyone else needing his services. As he grew older, he had a God-given awareness of the future, a gift which he frequently used to warn or to console.
</p><p>But age brought its challenges as well. He suffered the humility of having to give up his physical faculties one by one. First was his preaching, necessitated after he lost his teeth. Then he could no longer hear confessions. Finally, after a fall, he was confined to his room. The archbishop himself came each day to give him holy Communion. One of Anthony’s final acts was to reconcile two fiercely quarreling brothers.</p> American Catholic Blog God of love, as I come to the end of this Advent season, my heart is ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I join with Mary in saying, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Nothing is impossible with you, O God.

 
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